NEW ORLEANS – Son of a Saint and Ochsner Blood Bank are teaming up to host a community blood drive Saturday, June 19 at Son of a Saint’s temporary headquarters, 2541 Bayou Road in New Orleans, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The blood drive will be held on World Sickle Cell Awareness Day, bringing attention to sickle cell disease—a group of red blood cell disorders that affects Black Americans at much higher rates than people of other ethnicities. Son of a Saint and fellow Bayou Road Business Association members will also be hosting additional events throughout the day commemorating Juneteenth, the annual celebration of the end of slavery in the United States.
“Blood is needed for a variety of medical needs, but particularly for our friends and neighbors with sickle cell disease,” said Donny Dumani, MD, section head of pathology, Ochsner Health. “About 100,000 people in the U.S. have sickle cell disease and most of them are of African descent. There is no widely used cure for this disease, but the Ochsner Blood Bank supports one of the most critical sickle cell treatments of all—blood transfusions. We are very grateful to Son of a Saint for helping us raise awareness of this condition and encourage blood donation.”
As part of the post-collection process, blood is tested for specific antigens that are needed to treat sickle cell disease. If the blood contains those characteristics, the blood donation center will inform the donor so they can help sickle cell patients by donating whole blood, plasma or platelets. For many sickle cell patients, a close blood type match is essential and is found in donors of the same race or ethnicity.
The Son of a Saint blood drive is open to the public and eligible donors are encouraged to attend and help save a life. For every pint collected, Ochsner will donate $10 to the Son of a Saint scholarship fund.
Rashaad “DJ Shaad Smooth” Evan will be performing onsite at the event and each blood donor will receive a $15 meal voucher to the nearby Caribbean restaurant, Coco Hut, courtesy of Son of a Saint.
All healthy adults are encouraged to donate blood. Volunteers may donate blood every eight weeks. Donors must:
- be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds;
- be over cold or flu symptoms for 72 hours;
- have had no transfusions for one year, have no history of hepatitis after age 11 and have had no tattoos in the last month from a facility that is not regulated by the state of Louisiana.
“This partnership represents the essence of who we are as an organization and how we show up for our entire community,” said Son of a Saint Founder and CEO Bivian “Sonny” Lee III. “The collaborative support from Ochsner Blood Bank, as well as the Bayou Road Business Association, is invaluable to our entire network of supporters, and especially to the young men in our program and their families. We are looking forward to a wonderful and enthusiastic turnout at this event on Juneteenth.”